While these procedures may be difficult to pronounce, they have a very specific purpose in helping patients. To start, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive surgical procedures that treat vertebral compression fractures (VCF). A VCF is a fracture in the vertebral body in the spinal column. The difference between the two procedures is through the method.
A vertebroplasty is when a surgeon uses image guidance, often fluoroscopy, to inject a mixture into the fractured vertebrae or bone with a hollow needle. Whereas a kyphoplasty is where a balloon is first inserted into the fractured bone with a hollow needle creating space. Following the space creation via the ballon, the balloon is removed and a strengthening mixture is inserted.
Patients who receive a vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty are often the elderly suffering from conditions such as osteoporosis; patients recovering from malignant tumors (cancerous); or suffer from other conditions that weaken bone and vertebra health. The benefit of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty is the minimal invasive quality of the procedures, which typically limits the recovery time and use of pain medications. Due to the minimally invasive qualities of the procedures, patients are able to return their daily lives and activities more quickly; alleviate pain in a shorter amount of time; and limit the chance of infection.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are solid options for some VCF patients, but all surgical procedures, even minimally invasive ones, are major medical discussions. With any surgery, there are still risks to consider including infection, complications, allergic reactions or injuring the same vertebra. Kuether Brain and Spine can diagnose a VCF and determine the most appropriate course of action for treatment whether that means surgery or another alternative.